SEC Basketball Media Day

Tigers and Lady Tigers take their turns at the microphone in Hoover, Ala.

The LSU basketball teams headed to Hoover, Ala., Thursday for SEC Media Day as the 2011-12 season inches ever closer.

Tigers coach Trent Johnson and sophomore Ralston Turner represented the men, while first-year Lady Tigers coach Nikki Caldwell and senior Courtney Jones were on hand for the women.

Here are some quotes from the LSU contingent's appearance.

Trent Johnson

On freshman point guard Anthony Hickey.:


"He is looking good. We have had three scrimmages, and he's had 17 assists and three turnovers. I know it's early, but it's hard not to get excited about him, let alone the other two freshmen, along with the addition of Justin Hamilton. I think we have the capabilities of being a very solid basketball team and Anthony is going to enable us to play faster."

Trent Johnson
On the upcoming season:

"I have always tried to approach this thing from standpoint that I have to put myself in a situation where I can do the best I can to help them. I felt I've done that over the years, but last year with some injuries and there were some games that got away from us that I thought it wasn't them. I suppose it was me."

"I tell you what helps out is that right now we remain injury free. We have competed at a high level. The intensity has been extremely good. At times it's ugly, in terms of what we are getting done, but in all honesty I like the way we are getting after each other and I like the way we are taking care of the ball in certain situations at certain times."

On the effect LSU football success has on basketball: Is it a benefit?

"Yes. I was an assistant coach at the University of Washington when they won a national championship in football. There is no question it is benefit. The thing I like about our situation at LSU is all our sports programs and all athletic teams are really, really good and play at a high level. The men's basketball program needs to step up and share their end of the program."

Ralston Turner

"We have a little bit of depth. Some of the younger guys, they got a chance to play and we saw some really good things out of them."

"Competition in the SEC is really good right now. Obviously, you have your normal tough teams and normal great players in this league. It's just a pleasure to play in this league. There are no easy games, but that's what you want is a competitor."

Ralston Turner
"For us, I think every team is a team that we want to beat. Obviously, with the last two years we just want to establish ourselves and move up in the ranks. For us, our goal is to win every game and see where it goes."

On Hickey and fellow freshman John Isaac:

"They both bring different skills to our backcourt that we didn't have last year. Hickey does a great job pushing the ball. John is very up-tempo, and that should help this year."

On practice so far:

"Intensity level early has definitely been there. We have done a lot of defense in practice. Defense wins championships."

Nikki Caldwell

On playing for and coaching with Tennessee coach Pat Summitt and now coaching against her:

"I had the opportunity to coach against her my first year at UCLA so it was good to come back and be in that environment. Did it lessen the fact that we wanted to beat them? No. You are still going to be competitive because that is what she instilled in us – to go out and do your best and play against the best. Being back in the SEC, my team is going to be playing, night in and night out, against some great talent. Hopefully our non-conference schedule will prepare us for conference play. I know for us being back in the SEC, and when I say us I mean my staff, that we are excited to be here."

Nikki Caldwell
On similarities and differences from Coach Pat Summitt:

"I don't have her stare. I don't have her piercing blue eyes. I definitely have taken a lot from her. Having spent six years with her as an assistant coach, I was just like a little sponge. I know what it takes to put together a staff because she did an amazing job of doing that. But also implementing her philosophy and game plan and how she wants her team year in and year out to run. We make sure that we play this game in a way that you are going to respect the way we play and hopefully you will fall in love with the way we play. We aren't reinventing the wheel here. We are going to do things the right way both on the court and off the court."

On moving from UCLA to LSU and being in the SEC and overlapping with other teams for players:

"Yes we will overlap in some areas but a game is a game. I don't put more emphasis on one than another. Hopefully through practice and how we train our student-athletes that we look at everybody as an opponent. Obviously there is a great respect for all the teams in this conference, but in the same token I want our team to understand that no matter who you play, at their place or at our place, there is a way we play this game. If they can understand that, then to me that fuels that competitive greatness that lies in all of us."

Courtney Jones

On if Coach Caldwell acts like Coach Summitt:

"That really hasn't been a concern of ours. We are just happy she is here and want to take whatever knowledge she has to give us and just learn. Of course she has some similarities to Coach Pat because she did play for her and coach under her. But we are just open to whatever she has."

Courtney Jones
On what Coach Caldwell has been like:

"She has been awesome – a fireball. She has come to practice with a smile on her face every day. She has been with us through thick or thin. She has been that role model for us that we can just go to and talk about anything to. She is very personal with her players."

On if it has been a relatively smooth transition:

"I wouldn't say smooth. Some days you have your hard days. Like any player and coach you are going to argue and have disagreements. She has done a great job, though, letting us know that you are not more important than the person next to you because it's about team. We do a lot of self-motivational activities and team bonding activities."


Tiger Blitz Top Stories